Relinquished parental rights
The Indian Child Welfare Act was a response to decades of often abusive social service practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of native youngsters from their families, in many cases to non-Native American homes.
The legislation was designed to "promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and Indian families by the establishment of minimum federal standards to prevent the arbitrary removal of Indian children from their families and tribes and to ensure that measures which prevent the breakup of Indian families are followed in child custody proceedings."
Brown's relationship within the "federally recognized government" of the Cherokee Nation means Veronica is a member of the tribe and subject to its jurisdiction.
"It's not anyone's intent ever to rip a child away from a loving home," said Todd Hembree, the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based tribe's attorney general. "But we want to make sure those loving homes have the opportunity to be Indian homes first."
But Brown argued he successfully established paternity under state law, and qualified as a "parent" under the tribal statute, thereby giving him proper control and custody of his daughter.
He agreed to relinquish his parental rights in exchange for not paying child support, but said the mother never indicated she intended unilaterally to give the child up for adoption.
And Brown claims the biological mother tried to "conceal" his Indian heritage during the adoption process with the Capobiancos.